A Banana Bread Spectacular :: From Plain Jane Loaf to Homey Dessert: Banana Bread Sautéed in Clarified Butter with Caramelized Bananas & Flaming Whisky Sauce, Tea Cake with Celtic Crossing Frosting, and More!

by Laura on March 16, 2011

Our Sweet Boy Freddy woke up to a happy surprise.  His friend Carly came over to bake with me Sunday morning.  Much silliness ensued.

I told my friend William yesterday that I suffer from recipe brain.  It’s a blessing, until it isn’t.  It wakes me up, keeps me up, and seldom lets me rest.  I see images, literally, of recipes, ideas for any ingredient I see, and how to take something I’ve made, a custard or a jam or a loaf of bread, say banana bread, and turn it into something else.  So that’s what I’m up to today, sharing some of the thoughts that popped into my head when I used up some overripe bananas with Carly.

I think everyone should have one really good recipe for all of the basics.  This banana bread is the best I’ve ever had.  I may be a bit biased since it’s my great aunt’s recipe,  which I’ve tweaked just a little over the years, but when I made it for a friend some years ago, she hunted all over the Twin Cities for it, thinking it had come from a pastry shop.  It’s ultra moist—almost bread pudding-esque—sweet and homey.

This is how I remember my great aunt, whom I called Grandma Sherry: sweet, old school Catholic, the kind of person who dreamed of having a grand stone fireplace and who painted one on the wall of her modest house with little pots of color from the craft store.  When she was older and I lived nearby, I used to bring her dinner every afternoon and then we’d have cocoa and a little chat.  I learned that she was a feisty, daring young woman—a kind of uber-cool ingénue.  She changed her name from Kaye to Sherry because she thought it more sophisticated, dropped out of school, and met her then-boyfriend Mac who worked on the railroad for late-night dates in the city.  She’s pictured above on the right with my grandma.  And here, the two of them off to my grandma’s wedding in St. Paul.

I like this bread best unadorned with a cold glass of milk.  It’s the perfect after school nibble or mid-afternoon pick me up.

But it’s also nice as a simple teacake with a little Celtic Crossing frosting.  (We added a few chocolate chips to a couple loaves just for Carly.)

And if the loaf has lasted more than ten minutes, it’s also delicious sliced and toasted with a bit of mascarpone laced with powdered sugar and Celtic Crossing liqueur.

When I’m feeling fancy, I might caramelize some bananas slices, add some whisky and extra butter to the pan and light it ablaze tableside to be spooned over the sautéed slices of bread.  (Pyrotechnics not pictured.)  A little plain whipped cream or whipped crème fraiche on top would be nice, too. If you refrigerate the banana bread before you make it this way, the contrast of temperatures is appealing, and the bread has an exceptionally creamy texture.  Serve with a dram of whisky and toast to Grandma Sherry!


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carly March 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm

So cute!!!! And I thought making them was enough…you are a master

2 Jennifer Redmann March 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Seeing this banana bread makes me want to quit my job (or at least start neglecting my duties!) so I could have time to bake. It sounds so luscious and – more importantly – simple that even a non-baker like me could handle it. Love the pictures of Grandma Sherry! (and Carly and Freddy, of course…)

3 krisannjacobson March 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

Loved reading your story. And the bread looks divine.

4 Jen March 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Anything that looks that good should be illegal. My mouth is seriously watering! Now all I want to do is sip on a sweet cup of tea, in my pajamas, on a foggy Sunday morning…and bake this bread. And after I bake it, I want to cut a slice and turn it into that last picture! Mmmm.

5 Laura March 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Oh, I wish you were my neighbor! I’d bring you a loaf. Luckily, it’s so easy to make–it only takes about ten minutes to get into the oven. (And I really should have shown it with the whisky sauce. It’s kind of the best part and puts the whole thing over the top.)

6 Suzanne March 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm

cute photos of you both. Love the ideas and my husband loves to eat his banana bread toasted, I’ll have to share with him the caramelized banana thing he will love it.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: